PUMPKIN POWER - After struggling for the last eight months, Jay Cox was motivated to get back to winning form in his Buck-powered Butner Construction “Pumpkin” ’69 Camaro. The consistent top 3 player found his way back to the winner’s circle for the first time since July 2020, using a .003 reaction time paired with a 3.665 at 205.35 to beat Ron Muenks and his quicker 3.656 at 206.16 in the final round. 
“Man, this win is huge,” Cox said, thanking sponsors like Butner Construction and Smithfield Collision, as well as engine builder Charlie Buck. “Everybody knows I struggled all year last year. We fought and fought and fought. I finally figured the problem out about two weeks ago. We went and tested at Darlington for 3-4 days and made sure we fixed the problem. To come out here and run like we did round after round and not tear anything up, that's the win for me. Getting the trophy and the check at the end of the day is just icing on the cake.”
Cox and the fan-favorite “Pumpkin” Camaro showed promise in qualifying with a No. 2 effort, which was followed up by a 3.737 at 204.73 to eliminate Rob Hunnicutt in the opening round. He stepped up to a 3.692 at 204.42 in a second-round victory over John DeCerbo and his 3.731. A semifinal bye run into the final allowed Cox to push the limits, ultimately clicking it off on a 6.337 pass. 
Muenks made it past the first round with a 3.947 over Dave Roemer. Muenks and tuner Jeff Pierce continually stepped up in each following round, using a 3.685 to beat Jim Halsey’s matching 3.685 and a 3.66 to move on around Tony Wilson and his 3.708 in the semifinals. 
HE IS THE KING - Todd “King Tut” Tutterow continued to pick up momentum in his return to Pro Boost competition as a teammate and tuner for P2 Racing team owner Kurt Steding. Even though Tutterow had one of the quickest cars in each round, he won three of four rounds on the starting line when his opponents went red. In the final round, Randy Weatherford left .003 too soon on a 3.644-second pass, while Tutterow cut a .008 light and slowed to a 4.864 at 105.23 after losing traction. 
“I had three red lights [in the other lane], but I guess that's the intimidation factor sometimes,” Tutterow said. “We made good, consistent laps. We were quickest or second quickest every round except the last round. I just tried to rotate the earth up there. It happens every now and then. Thanks to Kurt Steding; he allows me to be here with P2 Racing. It's a dream come true to run PDRA like this this year.”
Driving one of two screw-blown P2 Contracting ’20 Camaros, Tutterow worked his way through eliminations with progressively quicker passes. His 3.686 at 208.91 eliminated Chris Cline, then a 3.679 at 207.46 beat a red-lighting Jeff Rudolph. Tutterow recorded a weekend-best 3.643 at 210.11 in the semis next to Kevin Rivenbark, who benefited from Tutterow’s red light in the semifinals at the last race. 
Weatherford, who qualified No. 2 in his ProCharger-boosted WS Construction ’17 Camaro, used a holeshot advantage to defeat Steding in a 3.704-to-3.701 first-round match. He improved to a 3.659 alongside a red-lighting Johnny Camp in the second round, then sailed to a 3.646 while Jason Harris went .002 red in the semis. 
THIRD-GEN PREVAILS - The Cinderella story of the weekend happened in Extreme Pro Stock, where third-generation Mountain Motor Pro Stock racer Justin Kirk enjoyed the biggest weekend of his young career. Driving the Buck brothers’ “Big Daddy Warlock” ’05 Cavalier, Kirk qualified No. 2 and fired off a career-best 4.063 at 177.07 in the final round to defeat 2018 world champion Steven Boone and his 4.076 at 177.07. 
“I really don't know how to feel,” said Kirk, who made the trip to Bowling Green after another race was rained out in Texas. “This is all I've ever wanted to do, race a Pro Stock car. It's just a dream come true. If there's a long-haul award, we'd get it this weekend. Eddie and W.R. [Buck], we work so hard. A lot of people don't realize how much it takes to run one of these cars. It's not easy, but we got the job done. I'm proud of everyone involved.”
Kirk won first round with a 4.101 at 176.53 over Dwayne Rice’s 4.56. He left on defending world champion Johnny Pluchino in the semifinals, stepping up to a 4.097 at 174.96 next to Pluchino’s 4.166 at 176.93. 
Boone, who reached the final round at the season-opening East Coast Nationals but couldn’t make it to the starting line for the final, raced to his second consecutive final round on the strength of two holeshot victories. His 4.089 beat Elijah Morton’s 4.085 in the first round, then his 4.116 topped 2019 world champion John Montecalvo’s 4.102 in the semis. 
DISTEFANO, AGAIN - In a rematch of the final round from the East Coast Nationals, defending Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Wes Distefano evened his score against fellow $hameless Racing driver Jimmy Pelcarsky. In the final round, Pelcarsky left before the tree activated, while Distefano posted a 4.166 at 170.54 in his Musi-powered Race Star Wheels/$hameless Racing ’68 Camaro to take the win. 
“This win means everything,” Distefano said. “Obviously, we're in a great place as far as the points chase goes with a runner-up and a win. The car just did great. I can't say enough about my crew. We had a bit of adversity, had to swap engines and we got through that and were able to seal the deal. It's always good to have the challenges and overcome them.”
Distefano opened eliminations with a 4.128 at 173.81, which backed up his world-record 4.105 pass from the final qualifying session. Along with crew chief Troy Russell, Distefano finessed the car to a 4.123 at 173.54 on a second-round single. A smooth 4.138 at 172.10 followed in the semifinals, topping Daryl Stewart’s 4.171. 
Pelcarsky in his Hutter-powered $hameless Racing ’15 Camaro defeated Mike Clark in the first round with a 4.207 before dipping into the 4.10s twice. The Ohioan’s 4.174 beat Brian Clauss in the second round, then a 4.151 over Chris Holdorf sent Pelcarsky to the final round. 


THE SPORTSMAN REPORT - Past Top Sportsman world champion Chris “Nitrous” Nyerges earned his first Elite Top Sportsman victory after moving up to the quicker category over the winter. Driving a Buck-powered ’20 Corvette for Dr. Gary Schween, Nyerges coasted to a 5.98 on a 3.84 dial-in in the final round, while John Benoit broke out with his 3.784 on a 3.79 dial. 
Defending world champion Stacy Hall collected the Top Sportsman 32 win in his Fulton-powered ’63 Corvette, using a 4.297 on a 4.28 dial to win the final round over Nick Meloni, who posted a 4.343 on a 4.27 dial in the runner-up effort. 
A pair of Midwesterners squared off in the Elite Top Dragster final round in a pair of centrifugally supercharged dragsters. Missouri’s Jeff Libla in his Vortech-equipped ’20 Miller entry got the win on the starting line when Illinois’ Al Peavler left .005 too soon in his ProCharger-boosted ’13 American dragster. Libla still managed to lay down a 3.762 on a 3.76 dial-in to solidify the win. 
The Top Dragster 32 event win went to David Petrofske, who cut a .006 reaction time and ran 4.172 on his 4.17 dial-in to knock out Bob Mandell and his 4.025 on a 4.01 dial-in. 
ON TAP - The 2021 PDRA tour continues May 27-29 at the inaugural DeCerbo Construction American Doorslammer Challenge presented by Callies at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. 


IT'S ME AGAIN MARGARET - Like most of the other Pro Nitrous competitors, Jim Halsey wasn’t able to get down the track during the first qualifying session. But when the air cooled off and the track tightened up, Halsey’s Brandon Switzer-tuned “Daddy Shark” ’68 Camaro came alive, laying down a 3.651 at 208.01 to take the No. 1 spot. 
“We struggled a little bit with the racetrack on the first run, but that’s to be expected with all the rain we got here yesterday,” said Halsey, who thanked Switzer and his crew, Eric Davis, Michael McMillan and Cathy Crouse. “We were pretty happy to run what we did on the second run. We made two good runs. We ran a .69 earlier in the heat and the .65 there. We feel pretty good going into Saturday.”
Perennial favorite Jay Cox led the field after the first qualifying session in his Buck-powered Butner Construction “Pumpkin” ’69 Camaro before slipping to second with a 3.674 at 205.91. Tony Wilson earned the No. 3 spot with his career-best 3.692 at 203.52 in the Justin Elkes-tuned, Musi-powered “Midnight Special” ’69 Camaro. 
RIVENBARK DOMINATES - Two-time Pro Boost world champion Kevin Rivenbark laid down the quickest pass of the season so far – a 3.628 at 209.52 – to put one of two ProCharger-boosted GALOT Motorsports ’69 Camaros in the No. 1 slot going into race day. Rivenbark was one of nine entries in the 20-car qualifying order to dip into the 3.60-second range. 
“When it left, I knew it was on a pass,” said Rivenbark, who thanked team owner Earl Wells. “It just felt good. The pass before, it went a .67 but it rattled a little bit. I knew when the track came around tonight, and Jamie [Miller] touched it up a little bit, it was going to run.”
Randy Weatherford in the WS Construction ’17 Camaro was the No. 1 qualifier going into the final session and held the spot until Rivenbark beat his 3.644 at 209.62, which held up for the No. 2 spot. Jason Lee piloted Eric Gustafson’s ProCharged Coast Packing Co. ’69 Camaro to a 3.65 at 208.26 to qualify third. 

CARR TOPS MOUNTAIN MOTOR PRO STOCKS - A 4.048 carried JR Carr to the No. 1 spot in Extreme Pro Stock at the season-opening East Coast Nationals, and a slightly quicker 4.043 at 180.77 did it again at Bowling Green. Carr and tuner Frank Gugliotta stepped up for the final qualifying session, jumping to the top of the qualifying order in the final pair. 
“It's a lot of pressure [to perform], especially when the car is there,” Carr said, thanking sponsors CP Carrillo, Liberty's Gears, Maxima Oils, Fuel Up Cafe, Race Ugly Speed Shop, Ram Clutches, and RJ Race Cars. “There's no excuses. Last race I didn't do a very good job. Starting out here, I didn't do the best job the first round of qualifying, but I didn't lose my confidence or get upset. I just regrouped and it all came together. We're really, really happy.”
Third-generation Mountain Motor Pro Stock wheelman Justin Kirk, driving for the Buck brothers, steered the “Big Daddy Warlock” ’05 Cavalier to a 4.071 at 176.63 to qualify second. Chris Powers, who won the season opener in his Sonny’s-powered ’14 Camaro, ended up third with a 4.075 at 174.12. 

 STATEMENT DELIVERED - Defending Pro Outlaw 632 world champion Wes Distefano made a statement to close out the final qualifying session, recording a 4.105 at 174.59 on a single pass. The pass in his Musi-powered $hameless Racing/Race Star Wheels ’68 Camaro gave Distefano the No. 1 spot and the first part of a new class E.T. record. 
“It pulled the wheels pretty good and it felt like it was moving just a little bit, but nothing where it was getting too far out of the groove,” Distefano said. “I didn't realize how good of a run it was until I saw the .10 on the board.”
Distefano will need to run a 4.146 or quicker during Saturday eliminations to back up the run as a new record. 
“We're pretty motivated by [the record], but our main deal is we want to win the event,” Distefano said. “I need to be consistent on the line. We know on race day anything can happen. We’ve got a lot of work we need to do tonight to make sure we're prepared for tomorrow. I think we have a real good chance. We'll see where all the cards fall and how we do. But we're feeling pretty good. If we could start eliminations right now, we'd be ready.”
Jimmy Pelcarsky, who won the season opener in his small-block-powered $hameless Racing ’15 Camaro, filed in behind Distefano with a 4.149 at 171.40. Florida’s Chris Holdorf qualified third in his Nelson-powered Dewitt Custom Concrete ’53 Corvette, running a 4.237 at 166.72. 
BENOIT SETS THE PACE - For the second time this season, Vermont’s John Benoit took his nitrous-fed, Buck-powered ’17 Camaro to the provisional No. 1 spot in Elite Top Sportsman with a 3.819 at 200.53. Two other nitrous cars fill out the rest of the top 3, with Tim Molnar running a 3.862 at 196.87 in his ’68 Camaro and Chris “Nitrous” Nyerges posting a 3.90 at 190.75 in the Schween Racing ’20 Corvette.
Mark McDonald is just outside the 16-car Elite field with his 4.127 at 174.75, but he’s the provisional low qualifier in the Top Sportsman 32 field in his ’67 Mustang. 
WHITE HAS THE TOP DRAGSTER - Multi-time Elite Top Dragster low qualifier Michael White came one step closer to another No. 1 qualifier award when he drove his ProCharger-boosted ’15 Maddox dragster to a 3.777 at 193.10 to take the provisional No. 1 spot. Craig Addis tucked in behind White in the No. 2 spot with a 3.779 at 194.49 in his ’21 Spitzer dragster. Missouri’s Jeff Libla is third in his ’20 Miller entry with a 3.789 at 190.43. 
In Top Dragster 32, Robert Pickens is the provisional No. 1 qualifier in his supercharged entry with a 3.893 at 189.95. 
WHAT'S AHEAD - The PDRA Stroud Safety Doorslammer Derby presented by Classic Graphix continues Saturday with sportsman and Jr. Dragster final qualifying beginning at 9:15 a.m. Sportsman and Jr. Dragster eliminations start at 12:30 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies and pro class eliminations will begin at 3:25 p.m.